Monday, September 29, 2008

Volver

From a distance, Penelope Cruz’s “Volver” appears to be a foreign chick flick -- lots of female bonding and few (mostly evil) male characters -- but director Pedro Almodovar skillfully tip-toes through various genres along the way. Part black comedy, a bit of a ghost story and not quite all of the above. Can’t think of a recent American film that went a similar route.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes: Season 3 Premiere



Gotta give props to “Heroes” for the William “Greatest American Hero” Katt cameo -- one of the night’s few bright spots. The writers are in an almost impossible situation. How do you please fickle fans and keep the network happy at the same time? Don’t think you can. The premiere drew 9.9 million viewers, down 25% from last season, clobbered by “Dancing With The Stars” and CBS sitcoms.

They need to kill off some characters, the cast is just too bloated. And stupidity shouldn’t drive the stories. Early on, didn’t Kring say that each season was supposed to involve a different cast of characters? Can’t imagine NBC would go along with that one. Say what you will about “Lost”, but they’re not afraid kill their babies.

Almost forget to mention the season premiere of “Supernatural” last week. Gets better every season.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Script Alert: Fringe


Simplyscripts.com has the teleplay for the "Fringe" pilot. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Max Payne



Just finished reading the script. Yet another video game adaptation -- that I’m not familiar with. The trailer gives off a strong “Constantine” vibe, to the point where folks are confounded by what appears to be a supernatural element that isn’t present in the game. The plot is pretty basic: burnt-out cop investigating the murder of his family, becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre killings.

I was scratching my head for the first 25-30 pages. Almost gave up on it, but things start to make sense after a while. Good action. Kind of a throwback to those one-man-army action flicks from the 80s -- with some trippy visuals for today’s cgi hungry audiences. The third act is especially ambitious. Really curious to see how it comes off -- we’re talking PG-13 here. Will gamers accept some of the “interpretations” and the tame rating?

Sight unseen, I think they got the wrong Mila for this. Milla Jovovich would make a far more convincing Russian Mob Princess than Mila Kunis. I don’t know about Ludacris either. Still, nobody’s gonna confuse “Max Payne” with “King Lear”. Not a lot of deep thoughts here, but the visual eye candy promises to make up for all that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fringe: Same Old Story

The season premiere of “House” will definitely boost the ratings, but I don’t think this was an improvement over the pilot. The short-lived “Nightstalker” series with Gabrielle Union and Stuart Townsend did an episode about a serial killer who paralyzed her victims before feeding on their pituitary glands. It’s been done many times over. I don’t mind the recycled plot, just give me better execution. The pregnancy was a nice misdirection, but not enough moments like that.

UPDATE: Over 13 million viewers last night. Not bad.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fringe Ratings

9 million viewers for the premiere. Fox has to be extremely disappointed with those numbers. They poured an enormous amount of money into the marketing campaign, but most folks weren’t interested. It just goes to show, you can put lipstick on a pig... er, never mind.

Here are series premiere numbers for some recent genre shows:

Heroes - 14.3 million
Bionic Woman - 13.9 million
Surface - 11.2 million
Journeyman - 9.5 million
Moonlight - 8.6 million
Threshold - 8.42 million

Things just got a little harder for anyone trying to get their sci-fi show on television. Remember that urge I had to write a pilot? It’s gone now. So what went wrong here? I still stand behind my theory that Sci-Fi/Fantasy has a limited appeal. Go too hard and you run the risk of scaring folks off. Fox has invested too much money in the series to give up on it, so it’ll be around for a while...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fringe



Probably one of the weaker J.J. Abrams’ pilots. “Fringe” just doesn’t seem as fresh if you’ve seen “Alias” and “Lost” -- not to mention the ginormous elephant in the room, “The X-Files”. Giant conspiracy? Check. Mysterious Company/Group? Unexplained Phenomena? Beautiful Government Agent in the middle of it all? Spooky orchestral music? Check. Check. Check. Are we going to discover that she has Daddy issues as well?

I thought the cast had good chemistry. Some funny exchanges. Obviously the show isn’t taking itself too seriously, witness the cow in the lab.

Not saying it was awful or anything, just okay. And to be fair, “The X-Files” pilot wasn’t exactly a grand slam. I’m gonna take a wait and see approach...

BTW, the season premiere of “Sarah Connor Chronicles” kicked all kinds of butt. Looking forward to the new season.

Samurai Girl



I’m officially an old guy. How else can I explain my adverse reaction to “Samurai Girl” over the weekend? I’m guessing it’s one of those situations where bad means good and dumb is even better. All the bad dialogue and dumb story? That was actually *good* -- to anyone under seventeen. Kids...

Didn’t make it past the first two hours. Liked ABC Family’s “Fallen” mini-series, but this did not work for an old fart like me. Think I’ll go outside and start yelling at some kids to get off my lawn. BTW, I don’t have a lawn...

I am so tempted to take a stab at writing another pilot, but I’ll just grit my teeth until the feeling passes.

Monday, September 08, 2008

True Blood



Wasn’t the complete train wreck that I was expecting, but nobody is going confuse this with “Six Feet Under” or “Buffy” any time soon. The accents were more than a little grating and the tone was all over the place. And how about throwing in a couple of ignorant Yankees to spread the offensive stereotypes around? I suspect the show might have been a little too over the top for a lot of viewers. Still, I’m curious enough to see where things go...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Twilight



Read the script over the weekend. I’m sure the target audience will be more than satisfied, but it’s a bit bland for us non-Twilighters.

I was expecting something with a lot more bite. There’s a heavy chunk of script that involves Bella and Edward just feeling each other out. Does he hate her? Maybe she should hate him back? He smiled at me! What does that mean? Does my hair smell? Standard teen stuff.

“Twilight” isn’t trying to be “Romeo and Juliet” -- or Buffy and Angel for that matter. There’s not a lot of plot and cheesy dialogue runs rampant. The story works because of Bella. She’s at an awkward age and her vulnerability comes through. The idea of a magical protector coming to her rescue and also desiring her, is the sort of wish fulfillment that probably appeals to most fans of the books.

I know “Moonlight” got the axe last season, but I think there’s a big audience for a teen vampire show. “TruBlood” looks too weird to fit the bill.

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